Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mehosh Dziadzio, owner of Mehosh Photography, located in Santa Barbara, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My name is Mehosh, and I'm an advertising photographer who resides in Santa Barbara, California. My client base is international, and I photograph fashion, products, and portraits.

Tell us about yourself

My passion has been photography for as long as I care to remember. My father was a photographer and a teacher of fine art. Growing up, I was inspired by what he did, so I guess it was a natural progression for me to follow in his footsteps. In the early seventies, I decided that I would make photography my career. I knew that passion and talent would not be enough to make it in the competitive world of commercial photography, so I moved to NYC to work as an assistant to some of the biggest names in the industry. It was there that I learned about the business side of things and how to interact with clients. Once confident enough in my knowledge, I moved back to Santa Barbara and opened my own studio. Santa Barbara was a small town at that time with a population of under 100K, so in a sense, I was a big fish in a small pond, and my work stood out amongst other photographers in the area. Over the years, my business grew, and I started attracting clients from Los Angeles, New York, and eventually Europe. Now in my sixties, my business is still growing, mostly from word of mouth and social media. I watched photography evolve into a whole new way of capturing images and was forced to change with the times. By embracing the new technologies, yet still having a background in the old, I became more valuable to my clients, which I believe is one of the secrets to my success.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment? Hmmm, I think that surviving the ups and downs of our economy, being able to adapt to changes in the industry, and delivering consistent work. My clients know they can count on me to accomplish their needs, and while I charge more than my peers, savvy clients realize that I am worth the price in the long run. You also have to keep a calm and positive attitude no matter what problems arise on a shoot. Once you are confident in your abilities, and that only comes with years of experience, the work isn't viewed as a task but a joy. It's something I look forward to every day. I am happiest when I'm doing something creative, whether I'm shooting for a client or myself.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

I suppose the hardest thing for me, being a business owner, is tending to the business side of photography. I think I'm too hands-on when it comes to that, and it detracts from what I do best, and that's taking photographs. Constantly finding new clients can also be challenging. You always have to keep your brand out there. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. I've gotten pretty good at promoting my work over the years, but it's something you have to stay on top of if you want to keep busy. I wouldn't call it hard. It is work. Life is work, no matter what your profession is.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Tips? Well, I'd say you have to examine why you're choosing that line of work. Is it just to make money, and if it is, there is nothing wrong with that if it makes you happy? Personally, I never worked a job that didn't bring a certain amount of joy into my life. My philosophy has always been to do what you love, and the money will follow. A good education is a clutch. That would be my next tip. Learning as much as you can about your chosen career path before opening a business will help you tremendously going forward. Once you have a business, it's not that easy to go back and get an education. Of course, you will learn a lot just by doing, but having a good base to work from is invaluable. The last tip is to always remember you are in business to serve your client's needs, not your own. That carries a lot of weight in the workplace and will keep clients coming back for your services. Value those relationships. It's a lot easier to keep a customer than it is to go out and find one. If this helps anyone, I'm glad. Now go seize the day.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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